Office of the Chancellor
Dear Faculty and Staff:
This morning, University of California President Michael Drake announced plans that will help the UC system confront COVID-19–related financial challenges. I encourage you to read President Drake’s important message below in full.
Here at UCLA, the pandemic has had a substantial impact on our campus budget. Still, due to prudent financial management over the last several decades as well as the recent institution-wide efforts we’ve made to cut costs and plan for future fiscal challenges, I am grateful that we are able to extend our commitment to no COVID-19–related layoffs for career employees through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2021.
The cost-saving and job-saving measures we’ve put in place this year include reducing hiring, the previously announced planning for a longer winter curtailment, offering a Voluntary Separation Program for eligible staff and creating an employee reassignment program. This last program, which invites certain UCLA employees to take classes, re-train for new duties and be reassigned to serve areas of greatest need, has allowed us to preserve hundreds of Bruin jobs. In one example of our employees’ flexibility in action, certain staff who previously worked in campus dining halls have learned new skills to support the Ashe Center’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program. Meanwhile, other dining staff have begun supporting campus partners in preparing meals for groups like food insecure veterans.
While I do not know what the future holds, UCLA will continue to do whatever it can — with your continued support, resilience and flexibility — to retain as many of our dedicated employees as possible during this very difficult time.
Thank you all once again for your commitment to our institution and to one another. I hope that the upcoming holidays provide you with much-needed rest and relaxation, and that this news offers some additional comfort in a challenging year and optimism for a brighter future.
Gene D. Block
A message from President Drake about UC’s commitment to preserving jobs during the pandemic
Monday, November 23, 2020
Last month, I announced the launch of a consultation process with the UC community to explore the idea of a systemwide program to preserve jobs and avoid COVID-related layoffs to every extent possible, and to help us address the more than $2 billion budget deficit UC faces due to the pandemic. This would supplement our many other efforts to deal with our financial challenges, and I write you today to update you on our plans.
We appreciate the thoughtful feedback which underscored the complex financial challenges facing the University, with impacts varying by location and even within each campus. Therefore, locations will be allowed to employ a mix of measures depending on what options best meet that location’s financial and operational needs.
While local measures will vary by location, all actions will be guided by our shared priorities:
- Protecting jobs and avoiding pandemic-related layoffs as much as possible;
- Supporting the health and well-being of employees and their families, including their long-term financial security, particularly for those in lower-paid positions;
- If salary actions are taken, in the spirit of equity and fairness, higher-compensated employees should carry a larger burden to protect employees with lower earnings.
Each location will establish a pandemic relief fund, to be used to minimize, to the extent possible, pandemic-related layoffs. One of the key goals of this approach will be to preserve lower-paid jobs that otherwise may not have sufficient funding. And, we will meet any applicable obligations under our collective bargaining agreements concerning actions involving union-represented colleagues.
Each location will be responsible for communicating the details of its plan to its respective community.
In closing, I want to express my deep appreciation for our dedicated and resilient staff and faculty, who continue to work selflessly during these most challenging times to take care of the people we serve. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of our collective work and contributions to California’s response to the pandemic — from transforming the way we educate students to providing life-saving patient care and advancing groundbreaking research. Thank you for your tireless service.
Despite the serious challenges we face, I am grateful to be part of this extraordinary community of people, and I remain optimistic for what we can continue to accomplish together.
Please continue to take care of yourself and loved ones.
Michael V. Drake, MD
President, University of California